Unemployment Benefits in London


The UK unemployment rate (2011) is 8.4 percent. Unemployment in London is around 9 percent.
These rates are calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


The unemployed can claim benefits through DirectGov and Job Centre Plus. Find the nearest office by JobCenter Locator.

The unemployed can apply for a Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and other benefits. Estimates of the benefit can be calculated using the benefit calculator

There are two types of Jobseeker's Allowance:

You first need to choose whether you are claiming :

  • Contribution based: if you have paid enough National Insurance contribution;
  • Income based: if you do not have enough money coming in (and you do not have enough saving, usually below £3000).

If you have resigned from a previous job, you will have to fill a specific form to explain the reasons of your leave.

Contribution based

Contribution based Jobseeker's Allowance is a flat-rate amount for you as an individual that you can get if you have paid and/or been credited with enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the relevant tax years (you must work 2 years in UK before you become eligible). You could get it up to 6 months (you can claim up to 1 month in arrear).

Amounts you could get per week are (April 2011):

Under 25 £53.45
Over 25 £67.50
Couples, civil partnerships £105.95

Income based

If you do not qualify based on your NI contributions, or if you think that it won't be enough money to live on, you can get “Income Support”.
Income based Jobseeker's Allowance is money for:

  • you
  • certain housing costs
  • special needs.

For example if you have a disability. The amount you get may be reduced if you have savings or money coming in.

Amounts you could get per week are (April 2011):

16 to 17 years old.. £33.85
16 to 17 years old if you have lived away.. £44.50
18 to 24 years old.. £44.50
25 years and over.. £56.20

Depending on your situation (single, married/partner/live with someone, worked outside the UK), you will have different forms to fill. In addition you will have to complete the form called: "Helping you back to work".

If you are renting, you should be able to get the Housing Benefit to participate to your rent. You will find information here. You will have to fill the form HCTB1 that came in the pack you got at the Job Centre. If you have got a mortgage or home loan, you may also be able to get extra money.

If you are caring for someone (for example children) you can opt out and apply for child maintenance at any time.

Who is Eligible?

  • People who are available for, capable of, and actively seeking work
  • Aged 18 or over but below State Pension age
  • Working less than 16 hours per week on average
  • Live within Great Britain

How to Claim a Benefit

Those claiming a Jobseeker's Allowance first need to attend an interview at the Jobcentre. You need to go to your local Job Centre to get the forms to apply for JSA (Job Seeker Allowance, the social security benefit for people who are seeking work). You will find the details of your nearest office on the Job Centre website. An advisor meets with the applicant and discusses aid such as :

  • Access to specialist for help writing a CV, preparation for interviews, confidence building and work skills
  • Help to look for work if you haven't had experience of looking for a job for some time
  • Help with reading, maths or with your English
  • Help with one-off expenses that might help you get back to work quickly, such as the cost of buying formal clothes for an interview

To keep receiving benefits, the unemployed needs to attend regular job search reviews (about every two weeks). Reviews are extended after 13 weeks of receiving benefits. After six months receiving benefits, a "restart interview" with a personal adviser is required.

    Reviews cover:
  • What you have been doing to find work (you should keep a record)
  • Changes you might need to make to improve your chances of success
  • Any additional help you think you need

After returning to work, people will continue to receive benefits for a transition period.

Update 10/05/2012


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Unemployment benefits
After 2 years working & paying NI contributions, you may be eligible for FULL unemployment benefits. My advice is that if you find yourself unemployed, made redundant or sacked, go immediately to your local Unemployment Office/Job Centre and ask to 'sign on'.
They will then inform you what benefits you are eligible for and then start processing your application. Each individual's eligibility and ampount of benefit awarded depends on lots of factors. Be prepared for some paperwork!

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